After an evening hiding from the midges, we woke to another beautiful windless day and seemingly even more midges. There was only one thing for it, run for the coast and hope there would be enough breeze there to scupper the winged menaces.
Able to squeeze under the height barriers at Rossbehy beach we breakfasted on the rocks and watched the tide quickly recede, revealing miles of sandy beach. We took long and thankfully midge free walk along a beach, paddling in the water, dodging jellyfish and startling hermit crabs.
After brushing the sand from between our toes it was time to get back on the Ring and head inland. For the next few days we would make our base Killarny, gateway to the Killarny National Park.
Starting from Muckross House, we took a walk around the lower lake, the trees sheltering us from the scorching sun for much of the route. All around us were purple hued mountains, some of the colour coming from the rock, some coming from great swarths of rhododendrons, an invasive species that has all but conquered the mountainsides.
It was too all too much of a temptation. After a stop for a cup of tea at a conveniently placed tea shop we decided to head up a hill, despite the heat. Following the well trodden path over Torc mountain we found a rarity in mountain walks as tree cover provided much needed shelter from the unrelenting sun. As we ran low on water a nearby stream constantly teased us, but we could find no way to get to it. Finally we happened across a small gully with enough water flowing to fill our bottle from.
As we took a break at the bottom of the descent we chatted with Noel, an elderly gentleman who’d been out for his afternoon walk to the local waterfall. We learnt from him that it was Queen Victoria who had introduced the dreaded Rhododendrons to the area, but there wasn’t much they could do about it now and despite one of us being English, he didn’t hold us personally responsible. We thanked him and he recommended a trip to the Torc waterfall, so we took his advice and were rewarded with a lovely refreshing supply of water, although the fall was clearly not in full flow.
In need of a shower we picked a campsite for the evening and were settling in when another Westfalia California arrived, this one with Dutch plates. They parked up next to us as Westfalia law dictates. We chatted a while as we got our diner underway, making use of our dutch oven by strange coincidence.
Betty’s Recipe of the Day – Potato Wedges
Get a fire or bbq coals going.
Preheat the dutch oven using 1/4 of the coals below and 3/4 on the lid, we want an oven rather than a frying pan.
A couple of potatoes, cut into wedges.
A couple of cloves of garlic, chopped.
Handful of mixed herbs, chopped. We used those old classics, Rosmary and Thyme.
Oil, we used Rapeseed.
If you want a little punch to your wedges, add a chili, chopped.
Mix the oil, herbs and garlic (and chili if using).
Mix in the wedges, coating each one liberally.
Fold a piece of tinfoil into a tray the approximate shape of the dutch oven base, with edges so that you can pick it up when loaded with wedges.
Place the wedges thick side down, pointy edge up, on the foil tray. drizzle with any left over oil/herb mix.
Quickly, so as not to lose too much heat, remove the lid of the oven lower in the foil tray of wedges and replace the lid.
It depends on the amount of heat you have, but roast for for around 40 mins or so, until they have a nice colour and are cooked through.
There are many ways to follow the road through the gap of Dunloe, a horse and cart can be hired for the journey, some cycle and many enjoy it on foot. Although the signposts recommend not to, the route can also be driven bearing in mind that it is a single track road filled with walkers, cyclists and horses.
We chose to follow the route on foot, starting from Kate Kearneys Cottage. The Gap of Dunloe was formed by glaciers, leaving what is now a scenic pass between Purple Mountain and Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. It looked like it was going to be another scorcher of a day, so we set of early. Well, as early as we could manage, which probably isn’t exactly the same thing as early.
The road zigzags across streams, passing fields of horses and sheep. It’s all paved, so the walking is easy. The horse drawn carts pass us at regular intervals, some asking if we want a ride, others already full of customers, many waving at us as they pass us. The occasional car comes through as well, but not so many as to be a bother.
The heat is starting to do strange things to us. Dan starts dreaming of bacon sandwiches for some reason, while later on the return leg Rosana develops a craving for pizza. As we reach the end of our walk our thoughts turn to more immediate matters, tea and cake from the local cafe.
We examine our map of Ireland while we rest our feet, drink our tea and eat our cakes. We’ve heard there is something akin to a continental aire in the town of Cobh and knowing nothing about the place, we decide that should be our next destination.